Thursday, January 17, 2013

NIGHT PASSAGE (1957)

As much as I enjoy Jimmy Stewart, Dan Duryea and Audie Murphy, I can see why Anthony Mann turned this movie down: the script is way more complicated than it needs to be and there's no tension. Instead of being concerned about what happened to who I spent most of my time scratching my head in confusion. From what I gathered Stewart used to work for the railroad as a bounty hunter or something. Anyway he let a guy (Audie Murphy) escape once and they fired him. Jump back to the present day and the railroad secretly hires Stewart back to deliver $10,000 to a work camp. As luck would have it Audie Murphy and his gang rob the train, but they can't find the money since Stewart hid it on a kid. Other stuff happens including people riding horses and shooting guns, but it's just a mess. Not a disaster, just a ham-handed mess.

All three of the leads are fine, but the direction by James Neilson is dead on arrival. Also a number of the scenes are obviously shot on a sound stage, which I found very distracting. Not really worth watching.

Interesting fact: According to IMDb Jimmy Stewart was so upset with Anthony Mann for refusing to direct the movie he never spoke to him ever again!
Notice Jack Elam on the right.